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Free IELTS Speaking Test 1

Getting the result you need in the IELTS speaking test requires a lot of practice, as well as understanding the common pitfalls and mistakes many candidates make. By working through the material on this site, you’ll be fully prepared with no surprises on test day!

Think you need more support? Our complete online course includes a Skype discussion for Platinum Plan members, where we can give you direct feedback on your speaking!

*Note that the Speaking test is the same for the General Training and Academic Module test.

There are three parts to the IELTS Speaking test, with the whole test taking between 11 and 14 minutes. The test is recorded. At the beginning of the test (before the official test has begun) the examiner will read some details into the recorder (date, name of test centre, candidates name etc). Then the real test begins. Note, however, that it is human nature for the examiner to begin the assessment from the time you meet, so a brief ‘Hello’ or ‘Are you having a busy day?’ as you are walking to the test room will give a good first impression.

Now it is time for you to try a complete IELTS speaking test. Ideally, we recommend speaking aloud when answering the questions and recording yourself, so you can play it back later and listen to your pronunciation, grammar and content.

IELTS Speaking Test 1

Section 1

“Do you enjoy cooking?”

Show answer
“Well, no, not really – I’ve never been very good at it. I don’t really have the patience for all the preparation that needs to be done, and I really don’t like the cleaning up afterwards. Occasionally, if I have friends coming over, I might make make a few simple dishes, but it seems to take me much longer than it does for other people. Most of my friends are much better in the kitchen, so I normally buy the ingredients and they do the cooking!”

“Do you prefer home cooked meals or fast food?”

Show answer
“Hmm…that really depends on what mood I am in. If I have to get dinner, I often choose fast food, but I really enjoy eating a home cooked meal with vegetables. It’s much healthier, and you can easily get bored of fast food. There aren’t many different take away options near where I live, so after pizza, burgers or chips, the only other choice is home cooked food. I suppose one the main reasons I prefer food cooked at home is that it’s the only way to have the kind of traditional food I grew up with as a child.”

“What would you typically eat for lunch?”

Show answer
Well, if I’m at work, I don’t have a lot of time so I might only have something quick like a sandwich or some noodles. Some days I might not even have anything for lunch – I know that’s not good for you, but there isn’t always the opportunity to sit down and have a break and something to eat. Weekends are different though – I like to have a large lunch and a smaller dinner, so I might go out and meet friends in a restaurant or get a take away. The only problem is that after eating a large lunch I often get tired in the afternoon and end up falling asleep!”

“Let’s talk about photographs. Do you take many photographs?”

Show answer
“I used to have my camera with me most of the time, talking all kinds of photographs of the garden. the house – even the dog. But recently I haven’t really bothered. In fact, I can;pt remember the last time I took a photograph since I came back from holiday. I went to New Zealand for two weeks and took so many photographs! I like to keep all my pictures together in an album; it helps me remember what I did and where I was. I even have a photograph album I started when I was 12, although cameras have improved a lot since then!”

“Do you enjoy looking at photographs?”

Show answer
“Oh, yes – as I mentioned, I used to take a lot of photos to remind of places I’d been or things I’d seen, and it’s nice to look back through them every now and again. The only problem is I get bored looking at other people’s photographs. A friend of mine recently returned from a long holiday in Europe and brought back over one thousand photographs he had taken! Well, it took over an hour to look through them as he spent about five minutes on each one explaining where it was and who he was with. I was very interested in the beginning, but after about 20 minutes I wasn’t really concentrating. I think photographs are very personal and I don’t show anyone mine because they mean more to the person who took them than to anyone looking at them.”

“Do you prefer photographs of people or places?”

Show answer
“Ermm…I suppose that depends on who is in the photos. If it’s people I know, then I don’t mind looking at photographs of people, but I’m not that interested in seeing pictures of people I’ve never met. Generally, though, I’m much more interested in landscapes. They don’t have to be recognisable or historic places – just so long as they are a little artistic. Unfortunately, I’m not very good at taking any kind of photo, but a friend of mine takes excellent pictures of places. She took photographs of her grandmother’s house – it’s a small cottage in the country – and the angles she took the pictures from, as well as the sunlight and shadows, made the pictures really interesting. She’s actually entered a competition with those pictures, so I guess they must be good.”

“When do you mostly take photographs?”

Show answer
“Well…I..I used to take photos all the time, but as I said, I don’t take as many these days. I suppose the two occasions where I still take pictures would be my holidays and special events, like my brother’s birthday party. A few months ago, a friend of mine got married and I must have spent half the day taking pictures of the bride and groom as well as the venue. I am planning to put the pictures into an album to give them for their first wedding anniversary.”

“Now let’s talk about transport. Do you often use public transport?”

Show answer
“Very rarely – I live a little way out of the main routes to the city, so the public transport system isn’t really very convenient for me. The local council have a scheme where you drive to a large car park and the bus will take you the rest of the way into town – I think it’s called the ‘Park and Ride’ – but I haven’t used it yet. But it’s not only that public transport doesn’t really get near my home, it’s also so expensive. I know running your own car is not cheap, but for me to get to work and back using the bus would cost almost as much as using my own car, but without the convenience.”

“Do you often walk anywhere?”

Show answer
“Actually, I have recently started to walk a lot more than I used to. My nearest shop – it’s only a local convenience store but that’s where I do my basic shopping – is only about one kilometre away. I used to drive, but now I walk whenever it’s not raining just so I get some exercise. I have a dog, so he comes with me for the exercise too – I think it does both of us some good! Like most people, though, I could do with walking even more – perhaps as far as the town, although that’s over 5 kilometres.”

“Have you ever been on a long journey?”

Show answer
“Err…yes, I have. I suppose my longest journey would be travelling to England to visit relatives last year. It’s a 14 hour flight from here, and it was the longest I have ever been on an aeroplane. The journey out was fine – I thought it would be quite boring, but it was one of the newer aircraft with a movies, television and computer games available, so there was lots to do. The return trip wasn’t so good though – there was a young child sitting in the row in front of me, and for most of the flight he was crying and screaming. I don’t suppose he was much older than three. So that wasn’t so good for me, although I did feel sorry for the parents – they look so tired by the time we landed!”

“Do you prefer to travel alone or with other people?”

Show answer
“Well, there are benefits to both travelling with others and travelling solo. With other people around, the trip can be more fun, and you get to share experiences and talk about them with people that have seen and done what you have. On the other hand, I like the independence of travelling by myself. I choose when I stop, where I eat, where I go – and this is often better than having to get your travel companions to agree before you do anything. I guess the ideal way to travel would be with someone else who also likes to be independent sometimes, so you can travel together but also spend some time alone.”

Section 2

Talk about a business you would like to start. You should say

– what it would be
– where it would be
– who your customers would be
– and why you would like to start this business.

Show answer
“Well, I’ve never really thought about becoming self employed, but if I did run my own company I think it would be something in the healthcare industry. I think it could be rewarding to run a retirement home for the elderly. I’m a nurse, so it would be a good way for me to continue using my training. Ideally, it would be somewhere in the country – I don’t really like big cities, and a relaxed rural atmosphere would be good for the residents, I think. It would have to be quite near some facilities though – shops, a swimming pool, things like that. Oh, and there would have to some type of public transport nearby.

Um… of course, the people using the home would be elderly, at least 65 years old, but they wouldn’t have to be rich. I’d like to make the home profitable, but not be exploiting the residents and charging so much that only rich people can come. As I mentioned, my experience as a nurse would be valuable, but I’d also be interested in this because the elderly are very often overlooked here. In my culture, most families look after older relatives and retirement homes are very rare, although they are increasing. So if I was to run this kind of business I would try and make it as homely as possible so that people enjoy living there.”

Section 3

“What are the advantages and disadvantages of running your own business?”

Show answer
“Well, one of the main advantages would be the freedom that comes with being self employed. Choosing your own hours of work and the areas you will focus on would clearly have a great appeal to some. But then, of course, this has to be balanced with the consideration that you are never far from work when you are your own boss. The expectations are likely to be higher, and people often spend considerably more time on their business when they are self employed. The pressures are also different; an advantage of running your own business is that you are not pressured by peers or bosses to perform. This, of course, can also become a negative point if that means you are not driven to keep working.

“What makes a successful business person?”

Show answer
“Hmm, that’s an interesting question. If you were to look at some of the world most successful business people – people like Richard Branson for example – I think there are a number of key elements that can be identified. They are entrepreneurial but also have the courage to follow an idea through, no matter how strange it may first seem. Of course, there is also the ability to make money, but successful can also be other means, not just the financial profit. Bill Gates, though apparently ruthless in business, is very generous in charity. Richard Branson has regular parties for all his staff and welcomes them personally to his mansion. To my mind, this is what makes success.

“Do you think technology will affect the way we do business?”

Show answer
“Oh definitely. In fact, I think technology has been affecting the way we interact in business for quite some time. Consider the use of video phones in conference calls and emails for communication and placing orders. As another example, courier companies can send a package from one continent to another and see not only the exact moment it was delivered, but also who signed for the package. Technology will continue to affect the way we do business as confidence increases with regards purchasing online. Over recent years, secure payments made on a website have allowed business to be transacted not only in the volume of sales and business done, but also in the markets now reached. Technology has made it cost effective to sell a single product to a customer thousands of miles away. Technology has also allowed us to present our product more visually – in the days of print media only, a black and white photograph was the most common method of promoting goods and services, but now we have websites, flash media, social networking sites likes Facebook and Youtube and many other platforms for people to promote their business.

“What makes a good employer?”

Show answer
“I think one of the fundamental aspects of being a good employer would be the ability to motivate people, to get the best out of those that work for you. I think a large part of that would be recruiting the right kind of employee, choosing people that you think will fit well in the team but also be able to use their own initiative. In my experience, one of the worst kinds of employer are those that micromanage – they can’t leave you alone to complete a task without looking over your shoulder. This leads to people not being able to take pride in what they do, and in many cases leads to a high staff turnover.

“Do you think life would be better if we all worked less?”

Show answer
“Oh yes, definitely. I mean, although many people may enjoy their work, I think it is important to maintain perspective – that you work to live, not live to work. You are lucky if you find and can keep a job you enjoy doing; but even so, it should not interfere with the more important aspects in life – family, relationships, friendships. If the working week was reduced from 5 days down to say, three, or even four days, people would find time to do more of the things they often think about doing but don’t get round to. I think most people – well, certainly me – would get out more if I could have three days away from work rather than just the weekend. Look how excited most people get when we have a long weekend because of a holiday on Friday or Monday, for example.

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This test originally appeared on